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Food shopping, mid 20th century

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Bakers shops mid 20th century Britain

Bakers shops were not particularly exciting places when I was a child in wartime Britain. Before the war they had been full of different types of bread, cakes and biscuit to tempt the palate. During the war, though, there was only one type of bread, called the 'National Loaf', and very little else. There were no cakes on sale.

I remember as a small child queuing up with my mother for our bread, although I didn't know at that time that it was for the National Loaf. Bread wasn't rationed during the war although it was in the years after the war when shortages were even more severe. Either way there was always a long queue outside and inside was a fight to get served. This in spite of the shop doing deliveries.

I don't have a photo of the shopfront of a baker's shop in the past. If you do, I would be grateful for a copy;

Our bakers was known as Brills, so I suppose it was run by a Brills or Brill family. It was one of a line of typical suburban shops, the only difference from outside being that its windows displayed bread and possibly some type of buns.

The baker's delivery

Guest contribution

In the late 1940s I had a bread round between Edgware and Burnt Oak. It was a Saturday morning job and paid the grand sum of 2 shillings - a fortune for me at the age of 9-10. [2 shillings of old money converted to decimal currency in 1971 as just 10p.]

A small green van, labelled Avery Bread Co, would pull up outside the Gaumont cinema and I would get in. Then the old geezer who was the driver would start driving round the streets. He would pull up outside each house on the round and yell out to me what bread I was to deliver there.

Dave Miller

What else bakers sold

Bakers did sell something else besised the national loaf...

Guest contribution

As a child in the 1940s, I used to walk the mile or so to and from school, and on the way back I would stop at our local bakers to buy my treat. It was called a 'sticky bun' and cost one penny [i.e one two hundred and fortieth of a pound.] Then I would sit and eat it by the level crossing and watch the trains.

The bun was just a lump of bread, but it had been dipped into some sort of sugar solution which made the outside sweet. It was really very plain indeed by today's standards, but at the time I loved it.

Neil Cryer


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